On January 16th, we hosted a volunteer workday for the MLK Day of Service. We had just over 70 volunteers come out for the morning hours on an unusually warm January day. I want to send a special shout out to the students that joined us from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, making up 40 of the participants of the day. We want to thank everyone who was able to attend because they helped get a lot of important work done in anticipation of the opening of the preserve on April 22nd.
The day started promptly at 9 with a brief overview of the property and the many tasks we would break into groups to complete along various parts of the trail system. There was a group for trail building, one working on deer fencing around recently planted oaks and hickories, one group went to clean up trash and fill an old 1954 Oldsmobile with rocks, and my group was tasked with building a turnpike. Of all the options, shoveling gravel to build a turnpike wasn’t the most popular option chose, but luckily I had a group of 8 hardworking volunteers ready to go.
A turnpike is quite a simple trail feature to explain, but difficult to build when you can’t get the gravel truck close to the site you’re installing it in. Our trail design at Brumley does its best to avoid any wet areas, but there were a few unavoidable sections on a route down to the only bridge across Stony Creek that splits the majority of the property in two. In areas that don’t have standing water most of the time, it is easier and cheaper to build turnpike, or sometimes called a causeway using gravel. We started by laying down 4 foot wide geotextile fabric, the same stuff many people use in flower gardens to keep weeds down. Volunteers then worked quickly shoveling and moving in wheel barrows larger stone, similar to large driveway stone or gravel along the railroad. This first layer of larger stone is then covered in crush and run, or abc stone. The top layer is also 3-4 inches thick, and highest in the middle to help shed water off. The reason you do multiple layers is so that when water is flowing across the trail during heavy rains and flooding, water can pass easily through the larger stone underneath the top layer. This keeps the trail dry and erosion to a minimum.
My awesome group of volunteers took the task that we expected to take 2-3 hours, and knocked it out in under 2. If you plan on coming out to the grand opening on April 22nd, or any time after, you’ll definitely be crossing over their hard work. If you’re tall like me, you’ll have 8 or 9 steps to enjoy the awesome turnpike they constructed to keep our trails sustainable for the long term. If you want to build your own 8 or 9 steps of trail out at Brumley, join us for our Conservation Corps workdays on Thursday mornings, or one of our remaining Trail Crew Saturday workdays, otherwise, we’ll see you at the grand opening in April! This is The Dirt- Tales from the Field. Feel free to send any questions or comments my way at [email protected].